We adopted Rupert in September 2010 from a shelter. He had been there for a long time. I think someone in his past must have hit him with a book because he is very scared of books. Also the people who had taken him to the shelter had gotten him for their young child - not a great idea. They did not do their homework. Rabbits are not the ideal pet for small children since they do not like to be picked up and are prey animals, so loud noises and creatures running at them waving their hands is pretty scary. What do rabbits do when they are truly frightened and someone has a-hold of them? Well, they use what they have - they bite. Rabbits' backs can break if they are dropped. There are so many reasons to not get a rabbit for small children.
For Rupert, to be treated like he was then abandoned to a shelter, did some emotional damage. It took him a long time to trust me, he still does not trust my husband. He does not trust other buns either*.
He has come a long way and now loves to be petted and rubbed by me.He loves free space, having spent so much time in a shelter, and in our sanctuary we built a common area where he can do just that. He is also the only bun who is allowed to roam completely free outside of the common area when I am outside in the veg garden or on the patio, as he will not try to escape (once he wandered to the edge of the driveway and could have taken off but showed no interest in doing so. Since then we have new more secure fencing). He knows to stay near me for safety. Rupert is a very intelligent and tidy rabbit. He was a house bun all winter since it was so cold and he was single with no bun to snuggle up with. Crazy as it sounds I think he can understand human English - if I say to "wait there", he will; "get on top of the ramp", he does it, and more.